A History of Royal Fashion
Explore how British royalty have influenced fashion over the last 500 years, from the Tudors to the Windsors.
The UK’s Queen Elizabeth II is often listed among the world’s leading style icons, with her distinctive colour-coordinated wardrobe. But she is not the first British royalty to be lauded for her sense of style.
This course looks back through the history of British royal fashion, picking through the glamorous wardrobes of several different dynasties from different eras of history. As well as enjoying the clothes for themselves, the course also looks at their wider influence on fashion history and society.
Enter the world of British royal fashion and discover its rich history
A History of Royal Fashion welcomes you on a 5-week journey into the wardrobes of British kings and queens. Your fashion history exploration will span across five royal dynasties from the Tudors, Stuarts and Georgians to the Victorians and Windsors.
You’ll receive exclusive access to the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, and experts at the University of Glasgow and Historic Royal Palaces will invite you to look at a variety of sources that will help you to study the fashion history of British monarchs.
Discover the fashion of the Tudors
Enter the extravagant world of Tudor fashion and learn about how the Tudors used fashion to project power and wealth, how portraits could be used as propaganda and how Henry VIII liked to dress. Observe a real Tudor hat and learn about the dress from the famous ditchley portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.
Step into the wardrobes of the Stuarts, Georgians and Victorians
Travel back in time to a 17th Century fancy dress party and witness the costumes and glamorous masques of the Stuart period. Then jump forward to the Georgian period and step into court. You’ll experience courtly dress and big wigs before learning about revolutionary fashion during this time.
Learn about Queen Victoria’s wardrobe and the impact of technological advancements in society on the fashion industry. Take a look at royal wedding dresses and discover Victorian fashion for mourning.
Exploring British royal fashion today
End your journey through the royal eras by studying the fashion of the Windsors. Explore how royal fashion developed into a less extravagant display of suits and blazers.
At the end of the course, you’ll learn about how we conserve and display royal fashion and create exhibitions to highlight the ever-changing trends of British monarchs.
- Week 1 – Step into the square shoes of the Tudors and see how their lavish clothes were designed to project power, wealth and control
- Week 2 – The Stuarts are centre stage to showcase how they dressed for leisure and influenced new trends through performance in an increasing time of conflict
- Week 3 – Explore the glamorous Georgians, their century of economic and social change, extreme fashions and an era marked by very public and very private monarchs
- Week 4 – Move into the reign of Queen Victoria, her own changing wardrobe and how technological advancements took fashion forwards
- Week 5 – Welcome to the 20th century where the Windsors balance royal fashion with diplomacy and expectations in an era of mass media and celebrity
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to…
Assess the significance of fashion and clothing to individual and collective British royals
Identify key fashion developments from the sixteenth century to the present day
Reflect on how and why fashions have changed
Explore the significance of different primary sources for understanding fashion history
Develop an understanding of the history of British monarchs, their family and their reigns
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for those who have an interest in fashion history and/or the Royals. No prior knowledge is required; all learners are welcome.
Who developed the course?
Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.
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